All posts in “ALPHA Team”

The Exodus Road Bangkok Training January 2016

Team Training in Bangkok

By: Corinne Shark

In January, we kicked off this calendar year with a multi-regional Exodus Road training comprised of 23 of our executive leaders, managers, regional lead investigators and volunteer investigators from Asia, India and the U.S. who all converged in Bangkok, Thailand for the event. The conference room buzzed with vision, information, stats, cultural context and legal processes. Digital presentations and manuals were dissected point by point. Expectations and conduct, objectives and standards were emphasized. Personal testimony and actual video footage stoked the flame within even the most seasoned operatives, bringing every detail, every number, back to real victims with real names.

Training is vital to the success of every rescue with which The Exodus Road is involved, because while the issue of human trafficking is extremely emotional, our search and rescue work is anything but.

  • Training creates a more well-rounded understanding for everyone involved. It’s important for our staff to see what our investigators go through. It opens their eyes to the difficulties each of us experience and humanizes the whole process of this work.

    -Jim*, Regional Director

Training protects the victim. We place a high value on our victim-centered approach and believe training our teams is imperative in maintaining this focus.  Every member of the team, from undercover investigators to office staff, employs strategy and protocol at every turn in effort to protect the minors we are working to see freed from further danger and exploitation.

Training protects the investigator. Equipping our teams to assess and manage risk factors and to exercise safety tactics as they collect evidence in both red-light districts and rural villages is essential.  Even though many of our operatives are former military/law enforcement, the darkness they engage night after night requires a heightened level of vigilance and self-care. We are committed to their health and well-being as they leverage their strengths on behalf of the vulnerable.

Training protects the big picture. We believe lasting change is found in empowering the national authorities as they engage the issue of human trafficking within their borders. Educating our staff and teams on our supporting role facilitates positive relations with local law enforcement as well as maintains our value on contributing to long term systemic change.

Thailand 1.16 046 Training in Bangkok

  • I am happy to have been able to transfer some of the knowledge to my operations team. Also, it was great to meet members of the volunteer team from the U.S. They are great people with good hearts coming here to help victims of human trafficking.

    - Som Piyathamsawat, Operations Manager
Here at The Exodus Road we know successful raids, rescues and prosecutions begin with teams armed with more than just good intentions. We invest in the training of our staff and investigators because we know it will yield the freedom of many. Boys and girls, men and women. Victims of unspeakable violence. More than just a number. Each one, a name.

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Meet Som: Northern Operations Manager, Thailand

By: Corinne Shark

Panyapat PiyathamsawatFreedom work is all-hands-on-deck and part of bringing you to the frontlines means bringing you in the front door of The Exodus Road offices. Today we are shining the spotlight on Panyapat “Som” Piyathamsawat, our Northern Thailand Operations Manager. As one of our national staff members, Som is an integral contributor to the function of the on-ground team in Southeast Asia. Prior to working with The Exodus Road she spent years in research, journalism and media analysis, produced television news, developed programming for USAID, and served as a freelance language translator. Som brings extensive experience in the value of trusted communication between collaborative sectors. She believes in the necessity of building relationships to achieve common goals. Som’s heart for the exploited impacts every aspect of her work and inspires hope in real and tangible ways.

What drew you to the cause of human trafficking?
My background experience in research and journalism made me aware of the infamous issue of trafficking here in Thailand, but at the end of the day the issue was still there. I was able to inform people but I wanted to participate in a concrete result. It was time for me to take the next step toward making an impact on peoples’ lives.

What is the most challenging part of this work for you?
Collecting enough credible evidence to convince the authorities to take action is always a challenge. Our job is to support the local police toward rescues and arrests which requires time, patience, good teamwork and trusted relationships. Good evidence without good relationships with law enforcement is worth nothing and so we work hard to build trust and solid partnerships. The Exodus Road has earned credibility and a positive reputation.

What has been most fulfilling?
Contributing to the team is exciting. For example, a group of 16 female leaders have been active in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities. Some are business owners, one holds an office and others serve their neighbors. I will be helping them understand the different forms of human trafficking and how they can help us identify those being victimized. We don’t know what’s happening in the smaller communities; but they do. Justice really is in the hands of the ordinary. I am an ordinary person and so are they.


ALPHA team in Thailand is comprised of managers, directors, a social worker, and investigators. Som’s role within this structure is to provide leadership and operational oversight, primarily to the investigators. We’re grateful for partners like Messenger International, whose community is helping to fund national salaries, like that of Som. We are also grateful to those who have joined ALPHA team and sponsor nights of investigation in this critical part of the world. This collaborative approach propels all of us closer to a world free of slavery. 

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